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Lunchtime wisdom

Over lunch today, Derek and I developed a new mantra. I have many of them, accumulated over the years, and each new one is like the click that I feel when I finish a crossword puzzle. It makes everything fit together just a little bit more. This may be an obvious one, but hey, we were pleased with it:

The opposite of good writing isn't bad writing; it's not writing.

That's all.


That *so* needs to be tattoed on my forehead! (Or at the very least embroidered on a sampler...)

Muriel Rukeyser says something to that effect about art in the life of poetry-- a book more composition folks ought to read. She says something to the effect that there is no such thing as good art or bad art. It is either art or not.

Oy. Sometimes when I post something I feel immediate regret-- that didn't come out like I meant it sort of thing. What I meant to say was I read something like that by Muriel Rukeyser that you might find interesting and that this book is actually pretty neat in the way it talks about poetry, writing, film and so on, in a way which I think compositionists might find as interesting now as she said it in the fifties.

You think that might work with my 105 and 205ers? Hmmm...It's worth a try.

See, I don't think regret is warranted at all, Robert. There are lots of books that composition folks ought to read. I think people in general (composition folks included, natch) ought to stop reacting so defensively when told they ought to read something.

I love the mantra.

"The opposite of good writing is what someone else decides is bad writing."

"The opposite of 'not writing' is 'not not-writing,' or what Giorgio Agamben calls playing with one's ability not to play."


Agamben suggests, for example, that Glenn Gould directs "his potentiality not only to the act but to his own impotence" and thereby "plays, so to speak, with his potential to not-play" (-Coming Community- 35).


So right! I must remember that for what I am now (not) writing. Collin, you're a genius and still quite funny. Your old pal,

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